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Celebrating HPFT's volunteers

06 Dec 17 - 06 Jan 18

Yesterday, we celebrated the fantastic contribution of HPFT's volunteers, as we marked International Volunteer Day.

In 1985 the United Nations designated 5 December as International Volunteer Day (IVD), to celebrate the power and potential of volunteering.

Volunteers have played an important role in HPFT for many years. They make a valuable contribution the organisation as our Chief Executive, Tom Cahill, recently noted when he said that our volunteers are “some of the unsung heroes of the Trust”.

He added: "They range from people going into our rehabilitation wards as befrienders, to providing a front line service at receptions. They complement and support the care we give and at the same time provide an opportunity for our volunteers to continue to use their skills. I was struck by their commitment and passion for helping service users feel that bit better. On reflection, I feel that I can to do more to support the development of our volunteering in the Trust given the obvious positive difference they make.”

HPFT currently has more than 20 volunteers; recently recruited another 10 who are waiting to start and we are still looking to recruit more. Volunteering is of great value to HPFT but offers benefits to the individuals volunteering too.

Some identified benefits from volunteering include:

  • Meeting new people and making new friends
  • Gaining new skills, knowledge and experience
  • Giving something back to an organisation either directly or indirectly
  • Making a difference to the lives of others
  • Help others less fortunate or without a voice
  • Feeling valued and part of a team
  • Spending quality time away from work or a busy lifestyle
  • Gaining confidence and self-esteem

 Lived experiences from some of our volunteers:

“Working as a mental health professional I always seemed to be in a rush. As a volunteer I am free of statutory responsibilities, which enables me to spend time with people rather than as was the case in the past of often cutting meetings short. The most important part of volunteering for me has been when people have said "thank you for listening", which has made the whole process worthwhile in that I have in some small way contributed to a person’s wellbeing. I also feel valued by staff and enjoy being part of the team, which leaves me feeling very positive about volunteering.” - Colin Sharpe

“For some years, a friend and I have been providing music at several mental health units, but primarily at Logandene, Hemel Hempstead. Between us we sing songs to the service users and play the keyboard and recorder. Our sessions are well appreciated by service users and staff and we get a reward from doing it because of the way the Service Users react. Often they are in a comatose or aggressive state and will change their mood completely and interact favourably with us and the music. The healing power of music comes through to me very clearly.” - Alastair Cuthbertson

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